The Kingdom

There are all kinds of supposed theological disciplines in the Kingdom message in an attempt to intellectualize simple spiritual premises. The Gospel of the Kingdom is Jesus' life and teaching in our hearts as we acknowledge Him as King. We, as the body of Christ, are the Kingdom fleshed out as we are led by His Spirit. He came to save souls, He came as an example for us to follow as we live for Him as Lord.

The Kingdom is also a future hope. There are errors in the church that teach that the Kingdom is totally in the future and we can't mix Kingdom messages with anyone in our dispensation of grace. Be pleasantly happy never to call yourself a dispensationalist. The Kingdom is yet to come but it is also here for us to enter into.

In the last days it is the Gospel of the Kingdom that will be preached to the poor. The Kingdom was Jesus' burning determination, His teaching and parables were kingdom centered and focused on a loving and forgiving God in a world of peace and justice. If the Kingdom is now, we must act like it is now to bring about the Kingdom to come. Our responsibility as the last day army of God is especially in the prophetic fulfillment of the Kingdom as regards to the harvest and the liberation of the poor from oppression.

Jesus is careful to distinguish His Kingdom from others. The New Testament theme of the Kingdom of God provides the universal framework within which the liberation of Christians and the deliverance of the poor from oppression takes place. The Kingdom is brought about by liberated Christians and cannot be realized outside the social praxis among the poor. Jesus will not return until we finally get it together on this. This may be the poor down the street or in the inner cities but just as probable is the effect that preaching social justice will have among developing countries. The world converts through imperialism, war and oppression, especially from supposed Christian countries. True followers of Christ convert through love, peace and deliverance from oppression. As a tool for evangelism, Jesus' way is the best. Previously the church's business had seemed to be primarily a matter of saving souls. It now becomes imperative for the Bride of Christ to regard social justice and human development as related to the Kingdom of God.

Jesus went about preaching the gospel of the Kingdom. The gospel writer Mark starts his history with the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Our English word gospel is from the Greek evangelion and means "good news that the Messiah has come, and the Kingdom of God was at hand." "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand, repent, and believe in the gospel." That is why it is a question of entering into the kingdom of God, not just waiting for it, into "life", into "joy." Jesus and John the Baptist both proclaimed the gospel being at hand.

God is working in history to bring about His Kingdom. To help us understand this, it is taught that there is a Kingdom in Heaven and a Kingdom on earth. The Lord's prayer attests to this. The Kingdom of God is now, in that Jesus is reigning over our hearts, and in the future, when Jesus will be reigning over the nations. Those present at Pentecost arrived at a point in their spiritual walk that illuminated their minds, giving them a new view of the Kingdom of God in that it was not a political empire, but a spiritual realm, with the risen Jesus as its ruler over the hearts of those who accepted Him by faith. Those that allow Jesus to be King over the heart, mind and soul enter a spiritual Kingdom that cannot be breached. Those that exhibit a glory in the power of the Holy Spirit and have overcome the world are part of a Heavenly Kingdom and in the realm of the departed saints and angels. Christians that have attained to that higher level of spiritual consciousness know fully well what I am speaking of. The saints do not await the millennial Kingdom resurrection when we pass but are immediately translated. Jesus' constant exercise over demons is that which He cites as a proof that the Kingdom is already established.

Since there has been so much written for and against dispensationalism, I should say that it would be an error not to understand that there have been different ages in the history of God's people, like the age of the law and the age of grace. To call them dispensations is true and proper. To teach that the beatitudes are not the gospel of the Kingdom they were looking for in their own lives and outside of our own dispensation would be a lie.

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
  • Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
  • Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
  • Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
  • Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
  • Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
  • Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
  • Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Matthew 3:5-10

I can't defend the position that the Kingdom is now as well as in the future by using scripture any more than dispensationalists can prove by scripture that the Kingdom is totally in the future. This is something that we must get from the living Word that is Jesus. A clear reading of the scriptures and a clear understanding of the intent of Jesus and the New Testament writers to teach us the gospel of the Kingdom will lead one to believe that we can enter into the Kingdom of Heaven right now as long as we trust Jesus as our Lord. John the Baptist preached that the Kingdom was at hand. The last two thousand years has been called a parenthesis in time. God gave us the age of grace to graft the Gentiles into the vine and give them an inheritance under the promise given to Abraham. The Kingdom was forfeited by the Jews when they rejected Him as King and once the message was again rejected by the Jews in the early church, Paul and others went to the Gentiles.

There is no theocracy yet in this world's government, we are in the times of the Gentiles, satan is the god of this world. The restoration of the two houses of Israel is still in the future. Our swords are not yet beaten into plowshares (Isaiah 2:4) and the wolf does not yet feed with the lamb, (Isaiah 65:25). God gave the world powers over to the Gentiles to govern ever since the Jews refused the Messiah. In other words, we are not yet part of the Kingdom of God where Jesus has put all governments under His feet. It is the unrighteous Gentile world powers that are marching into Armageddon, East and West, Jesus will intervene somehow and put down all temporal power.

If there is a difference between the kingdom of this world and the heavenly Kingdom, we can easily identify it but then when the Spirit entered into the world with the blessings of atonement, things changed. It may be the kingdom of this world and the devil may be the god of it but through grace, mankind had entered into a new earth. We know that not everyone in the Kingdom will be justified, only those that do the will of the Father which starts by initial faith in Him. The Kingdom is certainly something that is entered into "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." II Peter 1:11. Also know in Matthew 8:11-12 concerning the Kingdom of heaven that "And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the Kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

During the age of law, if you did good works, God would bless you. In the age of grace, God has already blessed you, now go and do good works. In the Old covenant, good works were required, in the new Covenant, good works are a responsibility, not an option, but a response to the salvation we get from free grace through faith. Like St James said, without works, faith is dead being by itself. In the Old, salvation is earned, in the New, it is a free gift. We are to be the representatives of that Kingdom and preach the good news so that others can come in. Men and women do not fully begin to experience the abundant life until they come into the Kingdom of God and allow the Kingdom to work within them.

Jesus also spoke of the Kingdom to come and it is this Kingdom that will be preached to the poor of the last days. The Kingdom of God will not "come with observation" but will silently increase, wherever it is set up, and spread from heart to heart, from house to house, from town to town, from one kingdom to another. Spiritual Christians have often been warned by our "realist" friends that we cannot bring in the Kingdom of God by acting as if it were already here. Yet this is precisely what Jesus taught. If those of us as the Bride of Christ are prepared to take the teaching of the Bible at face value and to order our lives here and now by the laws of a transcendent Kingdom, then the power of God would answer the cry of faith, and the Kingdom would break in upon the world anew. If the church will save itself and the world, it must cease being an end in itself. It must declare itself before the world and organize itself on the basis that it is a means to the end of the Kingdom of God. It must be disciplined by the Kingdom and act and live for Kingdom ends. When we once realize that this universal and unlimited power of Spirit is at the root of all things and of ourselves also, then we have obtained the key to the whole position - "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you".

Jesus wants us to be free to serve God with all our heart, soul and mind. His call to 'leave all' is accompanied by a promise; to those who seek first His Kingdom, not others, the rest will be added. To be a part of Jesus' Kingdom is equivalent to discipleship. Those that tried to lead us were the heretics, the Judaizers, the schismatics and false prophets and rather led people astray. If you love them, you will snatch them out of the fire. Many are called but few are chosen. It is through much trial and tribulation that these enemies will try to divert us.

Justice is always the foundation of peace. This is where Jesus is coming with a sword to take peace from the earth but it is only a transitory process. The growth of the Kingdom has been a process that occurs historically in liberation, in that, liberation means a greater fulfillment of the human race toward justice. Babylon will be thrown down from her exalted position in violence. It is in this tension that we are to explain the problem of war and our relationship to it. Make no mistake about it, it is in this view of the gospel of the Kingdom preached to the poor that will take the peace from the earth to achieve the liberation from the oppressive economic powers.

Jesus told us that when we see these things come to pass that we would know that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Ours is mainly spiritual warfare, it is not necessary for all of us to arm ourselves and take up the battle as some have thought. Jesus is preparing the nations of the world for the final conflict in order to bring about His Kingdom and it is in our testimony that this will happen. It will not be pretty but we must still hold on the great truths of the Kingdom in the liberation of the poor regardless of the conflict and tension that it will cause. And we must first come together in agreement on this.

The goal is the Kingdom of God, begun by Him here on earth and further extended until it is brought to perfection by Him at the end of the age. "Wherefore we receiving a Kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire." "Don't you know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of God." "Hearken, my beloved brethren, Has not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which he has promised to them that love him?" "The Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and the dominion endures throughout all generations." "But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the Kingdom of God is come upon you." "And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the Kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said "The Kingdom of God comes not with observation. Neither shall they say, Lo here, or Lo there, for behold, the Kingdom of God is within you." "But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Kingdom of God." "This gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations and then shall the end come."

John Wesley wrote: "it is termed the Kingdom of God because it is the immediate fruit of God's reigning in the soul... It is called the Kingdom of heaven, because it is (in a degree) heaven opened in the soul" Wesley's words on the way to the Kingdom included loving your neighbor and that a heart right towards God and man implies happiness as well as holiness. "For it is not only righteousness, but also peace and joy in the Holy Ghost." David wrote that "the Lord has prepared His throne in the heavens and His Kingdom rules over all." The apostle Barnabas wrote in his book, "Consider, my children, what that signifies: he finished them in six days. The meaning of it is this; that in six thousand years the Lord God will bring all things to an end.. And he rested the seventh day.. that when His Son shall come and abolish the season of the Wicked One, and judge the ungodly, and shall change the sun and moon, and the stars; then he shall gloriously rest in that seventh day." Augustine also taught that the Kingdom of God is a future Kingdom.

Parables contain a mystery. But this mystery is the Kingdom of God throughout a world that cannot see it. Seeking first the Kingdom of God does not work as a principle of self-service nor as a warrant for a life of idle ease, that is for the luke-warm Christians who pervert the foundation of the promise. If you try to make it work on that false basis, you are likely as not to fall into a life of poverty and want, of scrounging around for bare sustenance. That is not freedom; it is another kind of slavery. If you have indeed been taken out of this world then you a part of the heavenly Kingdom. Those that place their hopes in this world will be part of a kingdom that is earth bound. As Jesus taught it, the Kingdom of God was the gift of God and not to be entered into by men's striving. It was being ushered in through Him, at the same time already here, and a future hope. To Jesus, men had not really begun to live until they had entered the Kingdom of God, and to be in it was to have abounding, eternal life.
[06, 12, 16, 20, 54, 60, 97, 114, 115, 123, 162, 169, 178, 186, 187, 189, 224, 246, 15, 311, 319, 324, 326, 347, 23, 371, 378, Hebrews, I Corinthians, James, Psalms 103, 145, Matthew 3, 7, 24 Luke 9, John 18]

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